Factors to consider for a successful roll-out of diversity and inclusion initiatives

Peggy Wu

Peggy Wu

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Peggy Wu is Vice President at AbbVie, Asia

Building a talent pipeline

Building an effective diversity and inclusion strategy starts with considering talent management. Building a talent pipeline begins with putting the awareness of EEDI into action. Hiring managers should learn how to recognise potential unconscious bias that they should avoid when conducting interviews or screening candidates. They need to ensure that they consider the wide range of perspectives and qualities possessed by candidates to attract a diverse and talented workforce.

Secondly, while the competition for talent gets fierce, diversity and inclusion become critical factors in attracting and retaining talent. According to Forbes Insights, a diverse workforce can attract talent in the market. When companies have good career advancement opportunities, they have a higher chance of securing a diverse workforce. Talent management strategies and development programs can be integral in continuously developing the talent pipeline and helping qualified employees advance their career journeys.

Strengthening of leadership accountability

Leaders in organisations must play a substantial role in cultivating diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as the extent to which companies respond to matters of EEDI is large, if not fully, dependent on leadership. In the Heidrick Asia Pacific Diversity and Inclusion Survey 2019, it was found that business-driven EEDI strategies led by CEOs and other C-suite leaders achieve more success. Additionally, around 70 per cent of employees in the survey believed that it would be helpful for their leaders to learn to manage diverse groups, recognise unconscious bias, and adopt more inclusive behaviour and thinking.

Inclusive leadership should be regarded as a core competency for people leaders. This begins with establishing an inclusive mindset. It is also important for leaders to model behaviours that help nurture a culture that offers the opportunity for employees to achieve their best.

Once an inclusive mindset is adopted, we can move towards putting EEDI into practice by promoting flexible ways of working, conscious inclusion of diverse team members, and creating an environment where open communication is encouraged. Diverse employee communities for the underrepresented can be fostered throughout the organisation by leadership to promote awareness and appreciation of diversity and support people of all backgrounds.

Looking at a long-term holistic approach

For diversity and inclusion initiatives to achieve their maximum impact, they should be made integral to the mission of healthcare companies. Companies should have concrete measures to boost diversity and inclusion, such as a roadmap to implement them and a plan to monitor progress over time.

The established strategy should be part of the fabric of the work environment. Leaders should work with their teams to plan a constant stream of applications of EEDI throughout the year.

We should also measure the performance of diverse and inclusive initiatives by celebrating quick wins, highlighting successes, and managing what should be improved. Realistic goals should also be set to best determine the progress of diversity and inclusion in an organisation. They can take the form of a demographic that the company is looking to increase or perhaps boost overall employee engagement. In both cases, employees, including leaders, need to understand their roles in reaching these objectives and how they can contribute to making impactful change together.

Steps forward for building diversity and inclusion in healthcare

The adoption of diversity and inclusion in healthcare has proven crucial in driving business impact and success by securing a talent pipeline and enriching a diverse workforce that sparks innovation to bring sustainable growth to life. To achieve a favourable outcome, a holistic approach needs to be adopted while prioritising leadership accountability and ensuring the right strategy to weave diversity and inclusion into a company. When companies can successfully embed a diverse and inclusive way of working into their culture, they can expect highly engaged employees to unleash their potential and ultimately drive business growth.

Exploring Equality, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Driving Business Impact Published in Issue 57 Asian Hospital & Healthcare Management

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